I have never before detested a character like Sudhakaran in THIMIRAM (Cataract) in my movie-watching experience! And, that’s irreconcilable by all means.

Actor K K Sudhakaran confuses the audience by calling the lead character the same name through a film, THIMIRAM, recently released on an OTT platform, NeeStream. K K Sudhakaran is not an actor new to Mollywood movies but found a niche in acting through his debut movie, INNALE (Yesterday) directed by P Padmarajan and a handful followed. In THIMIRAM he delivers his best as an actor and ‘the worst’ as a character. A character who turns to be a persona non grata, by all means. When an actor takes up a character in the same name, it’s a matter not to be trifled with and brings in an identity crisis that prompts a tittle-tattle about his own private life.

THIMIRAM is a movie replete with things you loathe to experience in your daily life. These scenes you encounter daily are almost worn out in shaking you up as a commonplace experience.

Women do not need liberation. They only demand parity with men just to stand in line with the tedium of this workaday world. They demand equal status with men and not to stand below to carry through commands received. She needs an equal shoulder to fall back on with her fears and concerns.

The director, Shivaram Mani unpacks decades-long male highhandedness in the family and other social strata. Where do women go with all their anguish, anger and loneliness? It has been countered everywhere as a ‘women’s issue’. Gender inequality is a nightmare in Indian households. A lot of barriers are still to be jumped over for them in workplaces too. Besides spending most of their time on unpaid never-ending household chores and childcare, they face frictions and challenges everywhere in their personal life. Man, in his self-styled role of a guardian, enjoys the upper hand everywhere in family and social circles. He prefers ruling the family to sharing responsibilities as he brings in income to support the family. He prefers to hide his inability through his loud commands. He enters everywhere uninvited and without permission. He blames women if something goes astray in his family.

In THIMIRAM, Sudhakaran is a run-of-the-mill domestic guardian expecting a daughter-in-law to bring in a hefty dowry to pay off his debts. But he is down on his luck as his son’s love finds its own way without a dowry. He never talks directly to his daughter-in-law but through his wife or son as he thinks women are beneath him. He carries on with his heavy look that can’t see beyond his nose. People around him recoil to his persona but most of the time they disregard it as silly or as the arrogance of a septuagenarian.

THIMIRAM is a movie full of such erratic events for which the antihero takes the brunt. That’s the way the cookie crumbles! No one likes him as he doesn’t trust anything that comes up as feminine. He doesn’t believe in women as he too had such a childhood where he was lucky enough to be a boy in getting all the benefits. He used to get an extra fish fry from his mother for he is a male child to grow up and rule the family in the future. He escapes punishments from many a fight he had picked up with his older sister. He used to get a bail everywhere as ‘boys are boys, always!’ It shows visible instances of how it robs girls of their childhood and limit their chances in coming up with their potential. It disproportionately affects the women to raise voice for their rights. Her voice remains undervalued, if at all it’s heard. Sudhakaran, the central character of the film, never spares a chance for inappropriate sexual advances verbally and physically.

He says , ”Man comes first everywhere and woman to follow.” He didn’t allow his wife to get a job as he wanted her to look after the family. He cocks a snook with anyone he bumps into, if that’s a woman. A basic instinct of hostile psychological attrition is displayed everywhere in the life of Sudhakaran. He is detested by the public with his own deeds wherever he pops in. These types of behaviours, in place of dealing with it seriously then and there seem to be knowingly discarded by the victims. The public generally have a feeling that this is a way of life and by default they live with it. Eventually, he was hoist with his own petard when he was caught hell with his cataract. Everything recants finally and he was left with no other means but to be refined to catch up with the society.

Vyshakh and Meera Nair have given their best performances as the son and daughter-in-law. Rachana Narayanan Kutty, Asha Nair, G Suresh Kumar, Baby Surendran, Karthika, Ameya and the many came in cameo roles reminded me of a host of real people in life.

KK Sudhakaran, although acted in a number of movies, is generally known as a theatre artiste and has performed all over the Arabian countries besides his home stages. An engineer by profession he had spent most of his years in Abu Dhabi and Doha. Had he been in India, he would have been a renowned mainstream actor by now.

THIMIRAM has certainly to say something new to our society. It’s a get away from the common stultifying themes. If the movie makes you abhor the character it is the hemming talent of the director Shivaram Mani on the screenplay combinedly done by both of them.

Unni Madavoor’s cinematography certainly deserves praise. The film stands a proof of the best team work be it in front or behind the camera. THIMIRAM is not a ‘beautiful film’ in the traditional sense but a penny for your thoughts definitely as it packs a punch on the burning issue of gender discrimination.

Suresh Nellikode is a writer from Canada


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX